Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly is retiring from the NFL after 8 seasons with the crew.
“It is by no means the best time to step away, however now could be the best time for me,” Kuechly, 28, stated Tuesday in a video saying his choice.
Kuechly expressed doubt that he may nonetheless play as bodily as he’d like.
“There is just one approach to play this sport … to play speedy and play bodily and play robust. And at this level, I have no idea if I am able to do this anymore,” he stated. “And that’s the section this is maximum tough, is — I nonetheless need to play, however I do not believe it is the proper choice.”
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“In my center, I comprehend it’s the best factor to do,” he stated. “It is exhausting, however that is why you play this sport, to shape relationships, and in case you’ve shaped robust relationships, they by no means pass away.”
Kuechly suffered 3 concussions all over his profession and used to be in tears when he used to be carted off the sector with a concussion all over the 2016 season, The Related Press reported, however he made no connection with that during his video announcement, which used to be posted to the crew’s Twitter account.
Kuechly used to be credited with 1,092 tackles, 12 sacks and 18 interceptions all over his profession with the Panthers. He used to be decided on for the Professional Bowl seven occasions and used to be NFL Defensive Rookie of the Yr in 2012 and Defensive Participant of the Yr in 2013. This season, he had 144 tackles and two interceptions.
The Panthers credited him with serving to to get the crew to the Tremendous Bowl after the 2015 season, bringing up interceptions returned for touchdowns within the playoff sport in opposition to the Seattle Seahawks and within the NFC championship sport in opposition to the Arizona Cardinals. The Panthers misplaced Tremendous Bowl 50 to the Denver Broncos.
The Panthers stated Kuechly used to be some of the very best linebackers the sport has ever noticed and some of the largest gamers in franchise historical past.
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The crew, primarily based in Charlotte, North Carolina, lately reached an settlement to convey on Matt Rhule as head trainer. Kuechly stated that had not anything to do along with his choice, including: “He’ll do an improbable process. His monitor report’s confirmed.”
Kuechly “has had an incredible affect in this group and area,” and “his presence cannot be replicated,” Panthers proprietor David Tepper stated in a commentary.
Kuechly thanked the gamers, the coaches, the body of workers and everybody within the group and stated he felt lucky to have performed with the crew. “It is exhausting, however I am hoping to nonetheless be concerned by some means,” he stated.